This summer, I’ll be releasing my novel What You Want, a work of contemporary fiction about three unlikely friends on a road trip, as a self-published e-book. There’ll be a paperback release later, probably sometime in the fall.
What would convince me, as a writer in mid-career who has had 23 books published by traditional publishers, to self-publish a novel? You’ll be amazed by the answers!!
1. I have run out places to spend or store the piles of cash I made from traditional publishing.
As we all know, there’s a TON of money in traditional publishing. Authors can make as much as one or even two dollars for every copy of a book sold, and with small publishers like the ones I’ve worked with, that can run into three and even four digits! It’s just not fair for one human to have so much wealth at her fingertips.
2. I need a break from the paparazzi.
The book trade is glamorous but exhausting. I’m sure you’ve all read blog posts and tweets from your favourite authors complaining about how tiring it was when they went on that nine-city book tour and had to be up at five to do morning television and come back to the hotel room and ice their hand after signing 3000 books in two hours. I myself have gone on tour to locations as exotic as Mount Pearl and even Conception Bay South. I have spoken to groups of up to sixteen people and signed as many as five books in an afternoon. A gal needs a break from that kind of adoration.
3. Matt Damon is bugging me to know if he can star in the movie adaptation.
We all know that some writers have achieved mind-blowing success with books that started out as self-published works. Let’s take E.L. James for example. Wait, no, let’s not. Let’s take Andy Weir, whose book The Martian, originally self-pubbed online, not only became a bestseller when it was picked up by a traditional publisher, but is now being made into a movie starring MATT DAMON. MY MOVIE BOYFRIEND. So apparently, self-publishing a book will lead directly to me meeting Matt Damon. I can’t draw any other conclusion, can you?
4. Did you really think #4 would blow your mind?? Seriously?!?! Honestly, if it’s not clear by now that this is a parody of one of those Buzzfeed listicles in which #4 NEVER ACTUALLY BLOWS YOUR MIND, well, I don’t know what to say. But I will say: everything above #4 has, of course, been for laughs. All the points below #4 are the REAL reasons I’m self-publishing.
5. I have a story I want to share with readers. This is a book about three characters who have been living in my head for a long time. I wrote the first draft of this story several years ago, and have been fiddling with it off and on ever since. This year, I just had the strong feeling that I really wanted readers to be able to meet Megan, Jonathan and Andrew and share their adventures, and self-publishing the story as an e-book is the most direct way to do that. Click here if you want to learn more about this story, which you will be able to read later this summer.
Let me be perfectly clear: I am not one of those writers who’s self-publishing because I’m unhappy with traditional publishing. I have had GREAT experiences with traditional publishers. Breakwater Books, which released my three Newfoundland historical novels, is simply the finest regional publisher in Atlantic Canada. I hope they will continue publishing my historical fiction for as long as I can keep writing it. As for my earlier books — the Biblical fiction and other inspirational books I published with Pacific Press and the sadly-now-defunct Review and Herald — right now, I don’t have any new ideas for books in that line, but if I do, I would love to work with the team at Pacific Press again.
Despite my jokes above about wealth and fame, the truth is that except for a very tiny handful of bestselling writers, nobody gets rich and famous writing novels — whether traditionally published or self-published. Traditional publishing and self-publishing both have their strengths, something I discussed awhile back in this video about the subject.
What You Want is something I haven’t done before — contemporary fiction for a mainstream audience — and I want a new way to get it to readers. Some authors use pen names when they jump into a different genre. I’m not going that route — I’ll always be Trudy Morgan-Cole — but I am going to make use of whatever publishing avenue seems to fit best for a particular work.
7. I’m raising some money for a good cause.
Some of you may have noticed this pic on the sidebar of my blog here announcing a fundraising project. I have a big milestone birthday coming up this year, and I’ve decided that between the time I release What You Want in mid-July, to my birthday on Sept. 11, every cent I make from selling copies of the book will go directly to WorldVision programs to help girls in developing countries access education. So if you want to help out with this project, jump on the bandwagon and grab the book as soon as it comes out!
Watch this space for further developments, and be sure to check out my What You Want page for more information.